One of the few rivers in the United States running south to north, the Genesee River was the result of the last great ice sheet that covered New York roughly 10,000 years ago. The Seneca Nation fished and hunted along the river, important to New York since the beginnings of time.
In the early 1800s, it served as a source of waterpower for numerous industries. It provided water for early canals, and when the canals gave way to railroads, special sites along the river became popular destinations for entertainment.
From the early 1800s, Ontario Beach Park was dubbed the “Coney Island of the West,” and in the late 1800s, trains brought scores of tourists to Letchworth for spectacular views of the canyon, falls, and wildlife. Today, a series of parks and hiking trails can be found up and down the river.
Highlights of Genesee River:
• The Genesee River, a glacial river, is one of the few rivers in our country that flows north.
• The river runs through Letchworth State Park known as “The Grand Canyon of the East.”
• The Genesee River contains six major waterfalls.
• Four major college institutions are located along the river.
• The river contains the Mt. Morris Dam, the largest flood control dam east of the Mississippi.
Retired educators John and Sue Babbitt, authors of Arcadia Publishing’s Postcard History Series: Steuben County, have always had a love for local history. John’s love for photography and being an avid postcard collector combine for this interesting pictorial journey along the Genesee from its humble beginnings in Gold, Pennsylvania, to its mouth, where it empties into Lake Ontario.
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